Buffalo School Superintendent James A. Williams is correct in pointing out life often requires difficult choices. It is a sad day nonetheless when schools need police to safeguard students and faculty. Buffalo police officers are about to take a larger role in and around the city's schools to curb violence.
Williams and Mayor Byron W. Brown made the announcement this week. Ironically, on the same day Williams and police officials were attending a meeting at Grover Cleveland to discuss violence, a fight broke out between two girls.
School violence is intolerable and measures have to be taken to bring things under control. Initiatives announced by the superintendent and mayor should help mitigate the situation: All five police districts will assign officers to patrol around targeted schools at the beginning and end of the school day; the nine-member Flex Squad will focus on city schools; and Williams is looking for $500,000 to restore the Attendance Intervention Model, or AIM Team. In addition, a police liaison will be assigned to work with school officials.
By any means necessary. That should be the mantra at some of Buffalo's worst schools. It is a shame that the superintendent is compelled to take these necessary steps, including asking the School Board to raise the enrollment limit at the Opportunity Center to 320 from 100 students. The plan is to keep disruptive students at the center until at least the end of the school year, while offering academic courses and help with their social and emotional needs.
These are the sorts of issues new Police Commissioner H. McCarthy Gipson, 57, will have to contend with as part of his new job. The basic need is to provide a high-quality education in a safe environment. When that goal becomes impossible, then it is necessary to make hard decisions. Williams and Brown deserve credit for acting quickly. But it is not just, as Williams said, ". . . all part of how we have to live now." It is sad.